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Football: USC game thread

Click here for my game story. And here for my Cal notebook.

Final score: USC 62, Cal 28. The Bears (1-9, 0-7 Pac-12) now have lost eight in a row, 12 straight to Pac-12 teams and 14 in a row to FBS foes. Goff has moved into second on Cal’s single-season passing yardage list with 3,136 yards. Lawler caught two more TD passes, giving him five the past two weeks. The Bears had a season-high 195 rushing yards. USC (7-3, 4-2) are now bowl eligible.

End of third quarter: USC 55, Cal 21. Trojans going through the motions now, having pulled starting QB Kessler with 8:49 left. Allen also presumably done for the day: seven offensive touches, 192 yards. Goff has moved past Longshore into second on Cal’s single-season yardage list. Noah Beito, a redshirt freshman backup placekicker, has taken over the punting duties for Cal. The Bears have allowed 440 points this season — most ever in school history.

Halftime: USC 41, Cal 14. Well, not much happened there, right? Bears had momentum for precisely 39 seconds after Goff’s 4-yard TD pass to Kenny Lawler, then 24-yard flea-flicker TD pass to Darius Powe. That made it 21-14 with 9:41 left in half. But within span of 39 seconds USC scored twice — on 47-yard TD pass from Kessler to Allen, then 14-yard return by Josh Shaw after bocked punt. And it was 35-14 with 6:43 left.  Agholor later returned another punt 93 yards for a TD and a 41-14 lead. Cal may NEVER punt again. Not just today, either. Agholor became the first USC player to return two punts for TDs in the same game since Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett did it — against Cal — in 1965. Cal now has allowed five punt returns for TDs this season, a stunning total.

A few halftime stats, as if they matter at this point: Goff  is 19 for 28 for 130 yards and two TDs. He has become just the third Cal QB with 3,000 passing yards in a season and needs 11 more to move past Nate Longshore (2006) into second on Cal’s single-season list. USC actually only has a 243-204 edge in offensive yards, but that doesn’t include those 182 yards of punt returns for three TDs.

First quarter: USC leads 21-0. Nelson Agholor’s 75-yard punt return gave USC a 7-0 lead before the offense ever took the field. Then Trojans marched 79 yards for a TD, with Cody Kessler passing 12 yards to RB Silas Redd to make it 14-0. Bears looking lifeless today, except when they want to commit major penalties — two personal fouls and an unsportsmanlike conduct already . . . with 5 minutes to go in qtr. Javorious Allen’s 43-yard TD run — with two missed tackles by the Bears — made it 21-0. Cal has been outscored 157-41 in the first quarter this season and still hasn’t held a lead vs. USC since 2007.

WELCOME: Here at Memorial Stadium for the last time this season as the Bears (1-8, 0-6 Pac-12) take on USC (6-3, 3-2) in the annual Joe Roth Game.

The Bears are hoping to aviod making the wrong kind of history today: Only twice since Cal began playing football in 1886 has it completed a home schedule without a victory over an FBS (Division I) opponent: 1959 & 2001.

A variety of ignominious streaks Cal would like to end: a 7-game losing streak, 11 straight to Pac-12 foes, 13 in a row to FBS opponents.

Jeff Faraudo